Kinect-driven cart makes shopping a snap

wi_go

[Luis de Matos] is working on a neat Kinect project called Wi-GO that aims, as many do, to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. While the Wi-GO project is geared towards disabled persons, it can be quite helpful to the elderly and pregnant women as well.

Wi-GO is a motorized shopping cart with a Kinect sensor mounted on the back. The sensor interfaces with a laptop and functions much as you would as you would expect, scanning the area in front of the cart for objects and people. Once it identifies the individual it is meant to help, the cart diligently follows behind as the person goes about their typical shopping routine. The robot keeps a safe distance to avoid collisions, but remains within reach so that it can be used to carry goods.

If you take a look a the video below, you can see Wi-GO in action. It starts off by showing how difficult it would be for an individual in a wheel chair to use a shopping cart alone, and follows up by showing how much easier things are with Wi-GO in tow.

While the project is only in prototype form at the moment, we suspect that it will only be a matter of time until you see devices like Wi-GO in your local supermarket.

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Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s dream ride

While surfing one of our favorite websites, we came upon this little jewel. We can’t really tell if this is hack-worthy, or just a deathtrap, so to help decide…

Mechanics crawler + 80cc motor – safety concerns = deathtrap

It’s really that final “Brakes? Why would I need to stop?” that puts this project over the edge. Regardless, check out a video after the break. And please, do not try this at home.

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2-axis motion timelapse photography

[Milapse] picked up a motorized telescope base a few years ago. He’s using it to add motion to time-lapse photography. The base provides two-axis rotation controlled with a handheld keypad. Custom firmware and a bit of software allow for computer control. [Milapse] is pretty well-known in the time-lapse photography circles of the Inter-web. He’s posted a ten minute video explaining his setup and programming work for the hardware.

His use of a quality camera produces some nice video.However cost at $200 for the base, if you just want to play around with the concept you might want to stick to a webcam and LEGO setup.

[Thanks Jack]

Lazy Knitting

yarn

As much as we love crazy prototype style hacks, we really enjoy seeing things that get used after their creation. [Marcus] sent us the information about his automatic yarn winder. Noticing that his friends who knit had to go through the monotonous process of winding a ball of yarn each time they started the process, he sprung into action. After finding only a few commercial solutions, which were out of his price range, he decided to build his own. He found a hand cranked version and gutted it to add a motor. Now, they simply need to get it started and walk away. Great job [Marcus].